Gum disease alone is a fairly destructive disease. If left unchecked, it can destroy your gum tissue and jawbone, eventually resulting in the loss of one or more teeth. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in America. These effects have long been known by dental professionals across the world and have driven efforts to raise awareness about gum disease prevention and treatment. Research over the last few decades, however, has shown that the effects of gum disease extend beyond the integrity of your gums and teeth, and can negatively impact your overall wellbeing. As Southlake dentist, Dr. Gregory Wright, explains, experts have linked untreated gum disease to a host of other systemic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The Development of Gum Disease
For all of its pomp and circumstance, gum disease has rather humble beginnings. It all starts with the accumulation of bacterial plaque along your gum line. These bacteria release toxins that irritate gums and cause them to pull away from a patient’s teeth, forming pockets for plaque and bacteria to gather and continue their destruction. The irritation also causes inflammation in your gums, which is the reason behind gum disease’s continuing destructive prowess. As it progresses, gum disease destroys the connective tissue between your gums and teeth, then works its way down continuing its destruction throughout your gum tissue. Eventually, it will reach your supporting jawbone structure, which gum disease will destroy, as well.
From Your Mouth to Your Mind
Among the many theories that highlight the oral-systemic connection, many of them involve the formation of dementia. For the first time, however, researchers from the NYU College of Dentistry have provided long-term evidence that gum disease significantly increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study examined 20 years of medical, dental, and social data on 152 subjects. The results? Subjects that exhibited signs of periodontal disease were up to nine times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in their later years. To further their understanding of the connection, the researchers plan to conduct numerous follow-up studies involving larger and more ethnically diverse groups of people. This study, like many before it, highlights the resounding importance of maintaining a clean and healthy mouth.
About Gregory Wright, DDS:
As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.